German with Listening Subject Test

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The German with Listening Subject Test is a compelling way to demonstrate your achievement in written and spoken German, enhance your college application, and make you stand out in the admission process. Plus, some colleges may allow you to fulfill basic language competency requirements or place out of introductory German courses.

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Test Basics

Scoring, Timing, Number of Questions

Points Minutes Questions
200–800 60 (20 minutes for listening questions and 40 minutes for reading questions) ~85 (Multiple Choice)

Note: On test day, you must bring an acceptable CD player with earphones.

Getting Ready for the Test

  • Knowledge of words representing different parts of speech and some basic idioms within culturally authentic contexts.
  • Ability to select an appropriate word or expression that is grammatically correct within a sentence. One part of the test contains vocabulary and structure questions embedded in longer paragraphs.
  • Understanding of such points as the main and supporting ideas, themes, and setting of a passage. Selections are drawn from fiction, essays, historical works, newspaper and magazine articles, and everyday materials such as advertisements, timetables, forms, and tickets.
  • Ability to read passages representative of various styles and levels of difficulty. Each test edition has several prose passages followed by questions that test your understanding of the passage. The passages, mostly adapted from literary sources and newspapers or magazines, are generally one or two paragraphs in length and test whether you can identify the main idea or comprehend facts or details in the text.
  • Ability to understand spoken German.
  • 2–4 years of study in high school or the equivalent.
  • Gradual development of competence in German over a period of years.
  • Review of sample listening questions using a Subject Test with Listening practice CD that your counselor can order from the College Board.
Content Approximate % of Test

Listening section

  • Type One
    Contains short dialogues/monologues with one or two multiple choice questions. Dialogues/monologues, questions and answer choices are recorded. Questions are also printed in the test book.
  • Type Two
    Contains longer dialogues and monologues with several multiple-choice questions. Dialogues/monologues and questions are only recorded and not printed in the test book. Answer choices are not recorded; they appear only in the test book.

Reading section

  • Vocabulary in context
  • Structure in context (grammar)
  • Reading comprehension using authentic stimulus materials and passages


Download the SAT Subject Tests Student Guide (.pdf/6.3MB) for more information on the topics.

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The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests, Second Edition

Get the only study guide available for all 20 SAT Subject Tests.

Features include:

  • 20 full-length, previously administered Subject Tests
  • Detailed answer explanations for all test questions
  • The most up-to-date tips and approaches on selecting which tests to take, the best time to take the tests, and how to best be ready for test day
  • The latest versions of the instructions, background questions, and answer sheet
  • Detailed descriptions of every Subject Test, including topics covered and recommended course work
  • Two audio CDs for all six Language with Listening Tests

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Note: Free online practice will be available later this fall.

Additional Things to Know

When should I take the German with Listening test?

There are a few factors to consider as you decide when to take the test. You should have at least two years of strong preparation in the language, but the more the better.

It's recommended that you take the German with Listening test as close to the end of the most advanced German class that you will take in high school, while still balancing college admissions and placement requirements. You’re likely not to do as well if you take the test after you haven’t been in a German class for several months.

  • For seniors studying German: If German is a strong subject for you, be sure it’s one of the SAT Subject Tests you take in time for your colleges to see your score. If you’re only taking it for placement purposes, and not as part of your application, wait until you’re as far along in your course as possible. If you want to take the German with Listening test, check the test schedule to see when it's offered (and don't forget to bring a portable CD player with earphones).

What’s the difference between the German test and the German with Listening test?

The German test includes reading only—you read in German and answer multiple-choice questions. The German with Listening test also includes a listening portion—you listen in German and answer multiple-choice questions. Although students report feeling more anxious about the listening portion, they also tend to do better on that part of the test. Colleges say the German with Listening test gives them a fuller picture of your ability and is more useful for placement purposes.

Which German is used on the German with Listening test?

The language used on the test is taken from pieces written and dialogue spoken by those who use German in their everyday lives. Words or sayings specific to certain geographic areas will not be used on the test. If you’ve had at least two years of strong preparation in the language, then you should be able to understand the German on the test.

I am familiar with German, but have not taken a class in school. Can I still take the German with Listening test?

No matter how you acquired your knowledge of German, it’s important to show colleges what you know. Your test will be scored the same way as that of someone who learned German only in the classroom. If you’ve been exposed to a lot of spoken German, then you should definitely take the German with Listening test.

If you will be using these results to fulfill a college admission requirement, you should be aware that different colleges have different policies with regards to Subject Tests in foreign languages. You should check with the colleges that you're interested in regarding their policies and seek guidance from your counselor or teacher on your specific situation.

Please note that this test reflects what is commonly taught in high school. Due to differences in high school classes, it’s likely that most students will find questions on topics they’re not familiar with. This is nothing to worry about. You do not have to get every question correct to receive the highest score (800) for the test. Many students do well despite not having studied every topic covered.